The fight against drugs is going strong, and it almost seems endless.
We know of many medicinal addictions like Vicodin and authorities are trying their best to tackle them. Potent drugs like cocaine and crack are already banned. Yet, addicts continue to find new ways to get a hold of drugs.
Now the opioid epidemic has become linked to pet medicines. This is something very new and it has shocked veterinary officials as well as law enforcement authorities. It’s a serious problem that will affect both humans and pets.
Marian T. Ryan has written a letter to the Middlesex District Attorney describing the situation. According to her, there is a need to bring awareness about this new problem among people as this could become a new drug menace. If we have to curb deaths that occur due to medicinal overdoses, it can happen through awareness alone.
Ryan understood that this was a problem when she interacted with a pet owner. The pet owner’s pet had a persistent problem which did not go away even after prescribing the right medications. When the vet asked about the dosage of the medication, the pet owner was hesitant. Later on, the pet owner mentioned that it was possible that one of the family members were secretly consuming the pet medicines instead of using it to treat the pet. The animal was being neglected.
Since the issue has come to light very recently, it is not possible to draw up statistics about this issue. But the problem is certainly quite serious and therefore we need to draw out proper statistics and conclusions to address the issue with nuance. Susan Curtis, the Executive director of the Veterinarians’ Association, knows that this is a rare thing as of now. And so, she and Ryan are trying to use education and awareness to curb this problem.
The reason why this became a human-related problem is because of the medicinal components used. Pets are prescribed the same medicines as humans with a few alterations of dosage. Plus, there is proper information on human medicines regarding dosage and expiry dates. Currently, the veterinarians’ association is planning to collaborate with Ryan and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to develop pamphlets with similar information, but for pet medicines.
Vets need to be extra careful too. Generally, they have a good relationship with the patients. So, if someone has a healthy pet and still asks for medication, it might be a red flag. As a Vet, you should learn more about the owner and their family members.
Ryan’s letter is targeted at the Vets who refill prescriptions without proper re-examination and at those patients too who don’t bring in their pets for an actual re-examination but use the pets as an excuse to purchase drugs on the basis of some previous prescription. She even mentions certain home disposal methods and what to do to involve law enforcement when things get out of hand. Curtis, on the other hand, is trying to start education seminars. The stakeholders of this seminar will also include law enforcement authorities. It will educate people on the problems of these drugs as education will help in managing this recently emerging crisis.
Ohio has many instances of such an abuse. Many people deliberately injure pets to get the medicines. Such reports were received by The Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Mike DeWine, collaborating with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, and also the state licensing board is all for providing more education to the vets on this new aspect of pet medicine abuse. Plus, an Ohio House Bill has been passed with increased the penalties on domestic animal abuse.
Let’s hope both pets and humans can be saved from this new menace.